The Pulaar language of the Fulani people of West Africa, the world's largest nomadic group, is now accessible through the new ADLaM Display, on Microsoft 365 and in schools across Guinea

NEW YORK, May 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Brothers Ibrahima and Abdoulaye Barry announced today the launch of ADLaM Display, an evolution of the Pulaar alphabet on which they have worked with Microsoft since 2018. Developed in partnership with McCann NY, the new digital version of ADLaM is now available for use across the Microsoft 365 suite, desktop, and mobile platforms, preserving a beautiful and important culture while promoting literacy across West Africa.

The language of the Fulani people of West Africa, known as Pulaar, is spoken by over 40 million people, but for most of history, the language had no alphabet. Determined to preserve their native language, in 1989 the Barry brothers created an early version of ADLaM in handwritten form. The need remained to digitize the alphabet so it could be used to communicate through technology, such as texts, emails and websites, empowering the Fulani people to conduct business, connect through social media and find information in their own language.

The Barry brothers remarked, "ADLaM, the acronym A, D, L, M, Alkule Dandayɗe Leñol Mulugol, literally means it is the alphabet that will prevent the culture, the people, from disappearing."

Though the brothers had developed early versions of the digital typeface, McCann New York partnered with the brothers and a group of expert typeface designers to create a revised version of the alphabet that was easier to read and write. The new typeface was updated to include new letter forms that account for how the alphabet has naturally evolved within the Fulani community. 

To fight illiteracy, McCann and the brothers created educational materials for Guinean schools, including a children's book designed to teach the ADLaM alphabet and elements of the Fulani culture, in-classroom learning materials, and a learn-to-write book. All materials were also digitized to be used on classroom computers.   

"By the end of the century, 90 percent of the world's languages could be extinct," said Shayne Millington, Co-Chief Creative Officer, McCann NY. "The ADLaM project embodies the importance of preserving and securing the future of the world's multitude of cultures and languages, and as a result, the memories, myths, rituals, and deep knowledge that has been passed down over centuries." 

Microsoft has now integrated the redesigned alphabet across their global platforms. The revised version of the alphabet is now available to download on as the ADLaM Display font and will be deployed natively across the Microsoft 365 suite of programs, desktop and mobile in summer.

"This is just one of the many ways we at Microsoft are committed to helping preserve cultural heritage around the world," says Kathleen Hall, Chief Brand Officer, Microsoft.

As a result of the collective effort, ADLaM has been successfully embraced by the Fulani and has gained popularity in the community across West Africa and the Fulani diaspora worldwide. The first two ADLaM-focused schools will open during this year in Guinea and for the first time, will allow Fulani children to study a full curriculum in their mother tongue. Additionally, The Mali Government is in the process of recognizing ADLaM as an official alphabet in their constitution, and Guinea's Minister of Education has taken steps to ensure ADLaM is recognized as Pulaar's official alphabet. 

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About Microsoft  ack
Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

About McCann Worldgroup  
McCann Worldgroup, part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), is a leading global creative solutions company. The company is united across 100+ countries by a mission to help brands earn a meaningful role in people's lives.  McCann Worldgroup was named the world's most creatively effective marketing services company by The Effie Awards for 2022 for the fourth consecutive year. The core Worldgroup network is comprised of McCann, MRM, CRAFT, and FutureBrand, and partners with Momentum Worldwide, Weber Shandwick and UM to deliver solutions across the entire marketing spectrum. 

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